Crossroads of Freedom: Slaves and Freed People in Bahia, Brazil, 1870-1910
Crossroads of Slavery and Freedom, 1880–1888
This chapter explores the diverse connections between the popular abolitionist movement and the struggles of the enslaved in the last years of slavery. It shows how, over the course of those years of struggle, networks of communication and protection were being developed that involved individuals from the popular classes, many of whom had lived through the experience of slavery or were free or freed blacks. It also analyzes the growing hostility of the urban popular classes toward the continuation of slavery. This took form by popular groups interfering with the imprisonment of escaped slaves, as well as the sale and transfer of slaves to other Brazilian provinces. These events made it critical that the authorities maintain order and the social relations of slavery in the cities and towns of the Recôncavo. Ultimately, popular involvement was fundamental to putting an end to slavery in Brazil.